• Published 26th May 2016
  • 2,257 Views, 257 Comments

Sometimes They Call Me Super - KorenCZ11

My name is Jaquline Apple, but most ponies call me Applejack. However, that isn't my only name. Every now and again, ponies know me as Marevelous Red. Sometimes they call me Super, other times they call me a Hero.

  • ...

PreviousChapters Next
Origin Story VIII: Death of a Hero

Citrus Root

“Citrus? Sugarcube, where'd ya go?” a familiar voice asked. It was a clear morning in Ponyville. The sun was just beginning to peak beyond the horizon, the sky was a painting of red, orange, and yellow hues, and all the apple trees in the orchard glistened with dew.

“I'm over here, Rosie,” the pale yellow stallion said from his rocking chair on the wooden porch of the family home. This place was ancient. For generations, her family has lived in this very house going so far back that they aren't sure when the beginning was. A mare exited the house and entered the porch. Her mane was bright orange with streaks of blonde that ran down either side. She had bright green eyes and a bright red coat with little freckles that sat just above her cheeks.

She took a seat in the rocking chair next to Citrus and began to rock slowly. “So…Ah have ta ask, what are ya just sittin' out here for? It's Sunday. Ma ain't even up yet…” she said through a yawn. She was young, still a teenager even. Of course, that isn't to say that Citrus wasn't still one himself. She was only a little younger than his little brother after all. She'd lived on this farm her whole life, and she liked to take advantage of sleeping in when she could. Lazy whenever she can be.

“Oh, you know. I've never really watched the sunrise before. This is… nice. It's quiet and it smells good here, unlike where I'm from, and… I don't know, I just feel… like I belong here, ya know?” She'd hired him only a few days ago when she found him lying in the dry streets of the little hamlet outside of her farm, beaten and bruised, thin and hungry. One day, she'd ask him what happened to get him like that, but that was a question for another time.

She smiled. “Well, Ah'm glad. Ah ain't never met somepony as strong as y'all are, Ah think you'll adjust well here. Goddess knows we needed the help. Ah never really thought Ma was as old as she is until her leg gave out like that the other day. It's been hard with just us these days…” Silence struck the air as the two watched the sun creep above the horizon. Rosie could feel her heart beating so fast that it might have burst. He was so nice, and he was handsome too. Maybe on the small side, but that wouldn't matter as strong as he was. If only…

“Do ya think that... one day maybe...” she began.

Citrus stood. “You… really shouldn't.” He bit his lip. There was so much to say, so much to explain, and if it all came out, she’d never look at him the way she did now. It hurt, but… this could never be. “Look, I really appreciate what you're doing for me, but… I'm dangerous. I'm not really this strong. I wasn't this way two weeks ago, there's… something wrong with me. I… I didn't run away from home for no reason, and I… I can't ever go back to that city. You shouldn't get involved with me.”

Rosie got up from her chair and stood next to him. She found it funny how he was a year older than her, but she was a little taller than he was. She put a foreleg around his neck. “Ah don't care about yer past. Ah guess it'll have ta be just like Ma's then…”

Citrus turned to her, confused. “Wha-” He met her snout and she kissed him. Deep and passionate, spontaneous and oh so sweet. The moment felt like it would last forever until finally, she pulled away for a breath.

Finally free and realizing that he needed to breathe too, Citrus gasped. “What the!? What the in the world was that for?” His coat was probably just as red as hers now, he'd never been surprised like that. He was never the most social pony on the block and as far as he could remember… that was his first kiss.

She smiled, licked her lips and winked. “Yer just too sweet ta be forward, ya know? So, just like Ma, Ah'll have ta be the aggressive one. Y'all just come tell me when you're ready fer me.”

Citrus swallowed. “What... what are you?” he asked. She walked back in the house without responding. Time felt like it had come to a standstill.

She came back to poke her head through the door. “Citrus?”

“Uh, y-yes, Rosie?”

She shook her head at him, her smile never leaving her face. “Ya need ta wake up.”

He blinked, like the sentence defied the laws of nature. “What?”

“Wake up, honey. We're not teenagers anymore. Ah've been dead fer years, we had three kids, and yer brother is comin' home tomorrow. Wake up.” She started to turn back into the house.

No! Don't go in there! Don't leave me here! Not again, please not again!

Citrus rushed for the door. He turned the handle, and when he opened it, he was looking at the ceiling of his home in Manehattan. He saw his outstretched hoof trying to turn a knob. He brought it to his face along with his other and began to rub at his eyes.

Damn dreams.

He moved over to his end table and checked his digital clock. The bright red numbers shone dimly in the dark of his room. Seven thirty. Ah'm up too early again. Heh. Ah did pick this up from her didn't Ah? Ya left me here alone ta take care of all three of our friggen spawn. But… Ah guess that was my fault wasn't it? Goddess… this damned plague… Ah wish Ah'd never…

“Citrus? Citrus, please wake up!” a desperate voice called. Citrus quickly looked around, but couldn't find a source. He was alone in his room. How?

“Citrus, wake up please! We need your help!”

Finally, he recognized the voice. “Brightness? Is that you?”

“Oh, goddess, Citrus! Please come to our house! Octo… Scales was… murdered…”

A jolt ran down Citrus' spine. “Scales...? He’s...”

“Citrus, he's not the only one! Somepony has been killing heroes left and right! The body count is already at thirty… we… we don't know what to do!”

Was this Brightness? That girl was so willful and energetic, there wasn't anything that scared her... how could she be this worked up? Was Scales really...?

Citrus bit his lip. “Where are you?”

She sniffed though the link. Oh goddess, she's cryin'.“I'm on the street just outside the house… looking at the body!”

He could taste his own blood. Something he hadn't felt in a long time was beginning to surge through his body. Darkness flooded his voice as he said, “I'll be there in ten minutes.” For a moment, he stared at his closet. There was an object in there, one that could make him a different pony with the simple task of putting it on. Then he turned away and pushed the curtains from his window. Throwing it open, he leapt through it, landing on the roof of the house next door.

Damn. That was too much. Ah'm out of practice...

Another leap landed him on the road, then he headed south for the Slate house.

“Damn it!” Citrus slammed a hoof into the ground. The still liquid blood near the body started to find its way into the new depression. “Scales… who did this ta ya?”

Star looked to Brightness, and then Brightness returned the unsure look back to him. She took a step forward. “R-red Hoof-”

“Don't call me that! That name… that hero is gone,” he barked.

She stepped back. “Hey, man, don't yell at her! Look, I know I could never take you on, but that doesn't give you the right to-”

Citrus held a hoof up and shook his head. “Ah'm sorry. Ah didn't mean ta yell. Just... just call me Citrus, please.” He felt his head droop, unwilled to do so.

The siblings looked at each other and nodded. “Go on, tell him. He needs to know,” Star said. The girl looked at Citrus and frowned.

Her eyes fell to the ground as she started to speak. “There's been… almost sixty now.”

“Sixty? Sixty what?”

The filly stamped her hoof and looked directly at him, her pale teal eyes filled with anger and tears. “Sixty of your friends! Sixty heroes, mister retired! Somepony is trying to find Red Hoof again, and he's killing my friends to do it!” She wiped at her eyes. “I felt something weird that woke me up half an hour ago, and I walk two blocks away from the house to find Scales bleeding out right there! He couldn't talk, but the last thought the he made found it's way to me, and ya know what he said!? Find Red Hoof!” She took a breath to shake off the frustration and looked away.

“He… he died right there, with my hooves on him. He… I…” She started to chew on her lip, desperately fighting back more tears. Without a word, Citrus stood and pulled the filly in close. Her tears flowed, and she punched his chest repeatedly.

“If you had never…! Why didn't you just…!? You were my… hero…” Citrus remained silent. He made a nod in Star's direction, and scooped up the filly in his foreleg. She clung to him as the three of them made their way to Star's home.

Brightness had fallen asleep in the silent walk back, so after returning the twelve year old to her bed, Star and Citrus made their way upstairs to talk.

“This has been going on for about a week. She, uh… didn't want ta bother ya, but then it started ta get outta hoof. This guy… he killed twenty Power Ponies in one day. Scales was the first one to live long enough to tell us what he wanted, they all just…” Star trailed off and shook his head. “Look, man, I don't know what this guy is up to, but he's way worse than Copper was. Every time another hero dies, Brightness feels it, and it's messin' with her. She's losin’ her sight, and I don't know if it'll ever come back… I know that Copper messed you up and all, but… for my sister's sake, can you please, put an end to this?” Star pleaded.

Citrus didn't respond. He rolled the Coffee in his mug around, then took a drink. “Star…”

Star sighed and cut him off. “If that's all you have ta say to me, then… I… I don't want ya here. It might've been an accident the first time, but now it's happening again. I didn't want ta say this outright, but the fact is… whatever your intentions were for hiding like ya have, it's gotten a lot of ponies killed. It's time to own up, man.” He moved to his desk and reached for a key on it. He unlocked one of the lower drawers, took a piece of cloth from it, and threw it in Citrus' face.

“You've been sayin’ it for years, so go clean up your mess, mister janitor.” Citrus took hold of the vinyl like suit he'd been given and spread it out. It was more like the original suit, bright white and red with the Red hoof emblem being proudly shown on the chest. He gritted his teeth.

“I… heh, call me a fool for thinking ya might come back one day, but I've been keeping this for ya ever since that day two years ago. Seein’ how the last one got all torn up, I figured you’d need a stronger one this time. It's more resistant to things, and I had a whole bunch of heroes help me make the fabric. They all wanted to help in the event you ever took up a cape again, so this is all their hard work and mine. Half of ‘em are dead now, though…” Star walked past Citrus and didn’t bother looking back.

Before he took the first step down, he said, “The window is open. She's been up way too much lately, so… keep from waking her on your way out, okay?” Star gave one last hopeful glance at Citrus, then disappeared down the staircase. Citrus bit into his lip again.

Damn it! Why? Why did Ah ever start all this in the first place? If Ah hadn't caught this stupid virus Ah… Ah… Ah never woulda met Rosie… Ah never woulda fallen in love. Ah wouldn't have three kids Ah love. Ah wouldn't have saved Brightness. Ah wouldn't have kept my kids fed and happy. Ah wouldn't have saved this city as many times as Ah did. And… Dew might still be alive. Blood wouldn't have gone crazy. All those ponies that Copper killed might still be around. All those heroes that tried ta be like me would never have been killed by this new guy… This is all my fault. Damn it! It's time fer me ta stop mopin' around and fix my own damn mistakes! Star's right. Ah'm a street janitor. Ah clean up the messes that normal ponies can't.

Citrus stood and unzipped the suit. One hoof through, he flexed inside it. The suit bulged with his muscles without being so tight that it hindered his movement. Another hoof through and it met his full stretched length without being in the way. The mask came on, and there were no problems with the size. He could breathe and move his mouth without problem, even spit through the material. He wrapped up his tail, making it take it's old whip like quality. The suit was complete, and the cape had returned. Citrus pushed the window to the balcony open. It's time ta go clean up the mess.

“Thanks, Star.” And then he jumped away. If Ah'm lookin' fer a hero killer… then Ah'd best start at the last place Ah was seen.

It had been an hour since Citrus left Star's home. A clock near the park read nine fifty. Citrus looked down the city streets from his perch on the office of the Manehattan Bugle.

Damn. Still nothin'. Too bad. If anywhere Ah'd like ta have destroyed accidentally in some kinda fight, it'd be this place. These pricks always give me a bad rep. What was that guy's name? Johnson? James? Somethin' or other. Oh well. Ah suppose Ah'll just head fer the trade center. Ah can see most of the city from there. Still… Ah'm not sure who Ah'm lookin' fer just yet.

In the distance, aclock bell tolled.

Ah, crap. Ah was suppose ta have Blood's apartment cleaned up today. Ah can take an hour ta do that at least.

Citrus started to head north. The bell rang nine times as he was moving, but as the tenth tone rang out, he saw a black figure out of the corner of his eye rocket toward him. Without time to react, the figure crashed into him. His eyes went wide, as the force of the impact only increased as the figure put his hooves around Citrus' neck. They crashed into the Bugle building, then the figure raised Citrus' body like a rag doll and slammed him down into the roof, crashing through floor after floor until they reached the foundation.

Citrus managed to free himself from the figure's grip and finally, he could see what attacked him. A stallion, covered in a black and white suit. The majority of his body was draped in the darkest black Citrus had ever seen where only his eyes and a few stripes that ran down the interior of his suit were white. On his chest was a mirror that seemed to reflect more than was possible at one point and time. What in the hell is that? Without warning, the stallion launched at Citrus again.

Knowing where his enemy was coming from this time, Citrus paused and locked his foreleg for a punch. The unknown stallion arrived in range, and Citrus let loose, sending his enemy through several beams on the bottom floor and out onto the street. The building began to rumble, and quickly Citrus realized his mistake. For the single moment that he was distracted, his opponent had returned with incredible speed and landed a hard blow to Citrus' ribs, knocking him out of the collapsing building. By the time Citrus had caught his breath, his opponent was upon him again. Reacting quickly, he took advantage of the forces at play and twisted his torso, letting one of his hind legs slam into his opponent's head.

The enemy stallion was sent flying into the street, creating a crater in an intersection. Cars paused and honked their horns, ponies started to turn and run, a few even noticed him and shouted, 'look, it's Red Hoof!' Since he had transferred his momentum, Citrus began to fall and land on a nearby rooftop. Waves of pain shot through his head as he tried to take deep breaths. He noticed that his stomach felt wet.

Am Ah bleedin'? Sweet Celestia, this guy is out fer blood.

A second had passed, then the sound of propelling force shot through the air. Car horns and chaos, screaming and yelling, a speeding bullet trying to kill the hero. The Mirror chested stallion was back in the air and gunning for Citrus. He managed to pull his legs together to cover his face, but that wasn't enough to stop the punch that followed.

Just how strong is this bastard!? That felt just like...

No time to think. The stallion launched after him again. He was approaching the Trade Center quickly, and a single thought crossed his mind. He twisted in the air, then loaded his legs like a spring as he landed on it. Shooting off the building with such force that it broke all the near by windows, he launched at the opposing stallion. Citrus caught him by the neck and put him in a head lock. The stallion kicked and flailed, but couldn't escape before the two crashed into the street. They plunged into the ground until finally, the stallion landed a hit on Citrus’s ribs, and a powerful one at that.

Clutching the previously bleeding spot, Citrus was thrown out of the crater and into an apartment complex, collapsing the wall he hit. Then he heard him.

“Red Hoof, Murderer!!!” The enemy stallion screamed as he jumped from the crater and bounded off another apartment building to get at him again. Citrus tried to get away, but his broken rib made him spit a well of blood. The stallion collided with him, shoving his shoulder deep into Citrus' chest, collapsing the rest of the building as they smashed through it.

Without thinking, Citrus managed to stop them from pushing further into the ground and slammed his elbow into the enemy Stallion's face. The canceled momentum gave Citrus a second to plan his next attack. Grabbing the enemy stallion’s head, Citrus put all the energy he could into his knee and slammed them together. The villain reeling, Citrus planted one hoof in the ground, twisted his hips back, and let a punch fly with everything he had in it. The glass of his bloody mask shattering, the enemy stallion flew off into the distance. With time to think again, Citrus took in the scene he was part of.

Sirens were going off everywhere. Officers and heroes alike were trying to escort ponies away from the fight which had thrown all of Central Manehattan into chaos. The Bugle had collapsed in on itself, all that remained of it was a pile of rubble and dust that coated everything near. Ponies that weren’t so lucky were stains under fallen concrete, cars had crashed in an effort to dodge the falling debris, and a hidrant that had been destroyed was spewing water.Goddess, it's like a bomb went off or somethin'!His focus was brought back to the fight when a whistling sound came from his left.

“Murderer… You killed my family!” The Mirror burst through the brick and mortar that had fallen in on him and he bounded off the building after Red Hoof once more. They clashed in a flurry of rapid blows, for every punch Citrus landed, the mirror would give it back just a strong. Their blows, shook the ground around them, each hit so powerful it blew the blacktop and concrete of the street away. For a second, Citrus saw an opening and went for a punch to his opponent's ribs. And just as he did, so did his enemy. They both landed a hoof at the same time in the same place, sending each other flying.

Citrus had crashed through an office building, skipping across the floor like a rock on a pond until finally, he broke through a window and fell to the ground. After a few seconds of laying still on black top, Citrus started to get up. He looked around to find that he was back in front of the old apartment, but then his eyes locked on something that shouldn't have been there.

A filly. About eight years old. Her coat was bright orange, her mane and tail were blonde and tied up at the ends with red ribbons. She had freckles all along her face and bright green eyes filled with wonder, eyes that looked just like her mother's. Time seemed to stop as he and the filly stared at each other.

Why are you here!? It's not safe here damn it! He's after me, you have to run! You have to run!! Citrus turned his head, a loud crash sounded through the city as another building collapsed. He looked back at the filly, and she'd taken a step closer.

“Applejack, run!” She took a step back. Damn it, now is not the time ta disobey me! The crashing soundswere drawing closer.

“Applejack, run!” Her eyes widened. Son of a bitch, she's stunned! Ah can't get her outta here, she has ta go on her own! Her own… that's it!

“Jaquline Apple, RUN!” Her tail straightened out and she bolted away from Citrus, leaving little hoof prints in the concrete as she did so.

She's… she's movin' too fast… no… she can't… oh goddess, she's just like-

The office building behind him exploded with glass, rubble, and dust as his opponent crashed through it. “You killed my wife, I'll take your life! Murderer!”

Citrus, thanks to the presence of his daughter, had entered a state of hyper alert that only a father can. As if time had come to a slow, Citrus grabbed hold of his opponent's outstretched hoof and his flank. He began to spin The Mirror rapidly, and once he’d gained enough momentum, he sent The Mirrorback where he came from. Smashing into the office with the explosive force of a bullet, the roof collapsed in on The Mirror, coming tumbling down. He turned his head to see that Applejack was far enough away and went after his opponent.

He landed on an apartment complex next to the office's rubble and watched for movement. Without delay, The Mirror had pushed a large piece of concrete off himself. Now, Citrus got a better look at him. The cover on his tail had ripped during their fight revealing bright green hair. When Citrus saw that, something started to feel wrong. It looked so familiar. Why did it look familiar?

The Mirrorspoke again,“I was going to be a father! You killed him!”

The voice was familiar too. It was a voice he should know, one that he knew should have been close. But who did it belong to? The Mirror locked on to him and leapt at him again. Suddenly, this all felt too familiar. Citrus knew exactly how to react. He reached for the blood stained white and black mask of his opponent and brought his head close. With all the force he could, he swung his opponent by the neck until the fabric of his mask ripped away and the enemy stallion was thrown back toward the Trade Center.

Citrus swallowed. If Ah have these powers… and my daughter has her own powers… then is… is it possible that… He stopped the thought. That couldn't be true. The virus only affects thirty percent of the population. It… wasn't genetic was it? But if Applejack has it, then maybe it affects ponies with certain genes… and… if Ah have it…

The Mirror stood back up. A piece of his mask was missing. Just enough to reveal his left eye. His irises were bright red, and the coat around his eye was yellow.

“No…” Citrus’s heart sank. The pain of his injury and the blood beginning to well in the back of his throat all came together at once and he threw up.

“Bastard!” his opponent yelled, charging at him again. Citrus couldn't bring himself to retaliate. He blocked and blocked and blocked, eventually taking enough punches to push him away toward the edge of the rooftop they were on.

“Why!? Why did you kill her!? She was everything to me! If you weren't around, she'd still be here!” The Mirror yelled, bloody tears streaming down his bloodshot eye.

The Mirror came in again for another hit, and Citrus caught his hoof. “Ah'm… sorry.” He couldn't look at his attacker any more.

The Mirror screamed and kicked Citrus in the ribs, sending him into the wall of the building next door. “You're sorry!? Sorry!? You killed her and my son! Sorry can't bring them back to life!” He slammed into Citrus once again, and Citrus heard something organic snap as they burrowed further into the sky scraper. The Mirror grabbed Citrus by the face and threw him back out of the hole they made, then caught him in the air.

Ah can't feel my left foreleg... Ah can't let him do this... if he finds out the truth...

With all the strength he had left, he knocked The Mirror away as he came into range, and then started to fall out of the sky. He crashed into the side of the Trade Center, taking out the southern corner. He could feel more blood beginning to well up in his mouth, his broken rib starting to make the rest of his suit red. He tried to get up, but the pain of his injuries prevented stopped him. Before he knew it, The Mirror was upon him again. He kneed Citrus in the stomach, then straddled his body and punchedhim over and over again.

“Why!? Why!? Why!? Why!?” He said with each blow to Citrus.

“You were the Hero! Why didn't you save her!? It was your job! You were the best at it! Why did you kill her!?” When he felt no struggling beneath him, The Mirror stopped his barrage and looked at the bloody beaten Hero below him. The hero turned and spat on the ground.

“Ah… couldn't… save her…” Citrus started to hear a faint rumbling coming from nearby. Crackling and popping coming from the stone. He looked up and noticed that the Trade Center was leaning.

“W-why aren't you fighting back!? Why are you telling me this!? You're supposed to be the stallion that murdered my wife! Not somepony I know! Why do you… sound so… familiar? Who… who are you?” The cracking noises erupted and the sky darkened. Dust and rubble started to fall, broken glass came crashing down.

“Because… Ah could never fight you…” Through all the pain and blood and broken body, Citrus mustered all the strength he could into a headbutt to his brother's chest. Blood was sent flying out of range of the toppling mass of glass, steel, and concrete. Citrus tried to move, but his body wouldn't respond. The darkness was approaching quicker, the building was crumbling and collapsing in on itself. He didn't have time to escape anymore. He'd lost too much blood in the fight and he'd broken his dominant foreleg. It was over now.

So this is how it ends, isn't it? Ah'm sorry Ah didn't last Rosie. Ah couldn't see our kids grow up like ya asked me too. Ah couldn't protect my own family. Ah couldn't live ta see them get married or have their own kids. Ah really blew it this time, didn't Ah? At the very least… We'll be together again.

Blood Orange

Blood watched as the Manehattan Trade Center collapsed on the spot where he had been fighting Red Hoof. Glass, dust, and rubble flew through the sky like a volcano had erupted in the middle of the city. Ponies screamed, sirens blared, death and destruction was what remained of He stood up and rushed back to where Red Hoof was.

That couldn't have been... I was... he... he pushed me out of the way. I... He couldn't have been...

He reached the spot and cleared away the rubble until he found the body. It was bloody, but not destroyed. It was very still. Not breathing, like a life sized Red Hoof figurine.

He… He's not… He's dead… He's dead… B-but… Who was he?

Blood swallowed. He defeated Red Hoof, the hero who killed his wife and soon to be son, but... who was Red Hoof?

There's was no mistaking that accent… H-he had it ever since he married into that family… he was the only one I knew who could have been that strong… he… he could lift hundreds of pounds with his teeth with ease… he… oh, goddess…

While he still had Red Hoof's powers, Blood ripped the mask off Red Hoof's suit. There, lying dead in a pool of his own blood was a pale yellow stallion with a brown mane, inside the suit of Red Hoof, the Hero who got his wife and unborn son killed.

“No… no, no, no, this can't be real! You can't be him! I… Without you, I would have never…! We… I…! No, no, no, not again! AHHHH!!!!” He screamed at the top of his raw lungs, clutching the body of his brother with all he had. From out of the nearby crowd, he heard a familiar voice. One that he picked out from all the rest, one that he couldn't ignore.

“That's my papa in there! Let me go! Let me go!” the voice said. He couldn't turn away. He had to look. He had to know. And sure enough, he saw what he hoped wasn't there. A young orange filly with freckles on her face, bright green eyes and a blonde mane and tail, both tied up with red ribbons.

Blood bit deep into his lip, so hard the he could taste his own blood again. He picked up the body and put the mask back over his brother's face. He screamed into the sky once more before he leapt away from the destruction. As quickly as possible, Blood made his way toward the Manehattan park interior. Part of the park that was so heavily forested that nopony would ever know what would be buried there. Where nopony would ever find him.

“I've made a mistake… a horrible, horrible mistake that I can never atone for… but… you… you still tried to show me mercy. You tried to save me, even after everything I did. I… I will never use these powers to harm another again. With you, I will seal them away. I’m… the last family your kids have left, and I will do everything in my power to make sure that they live good lives, just like… my big brother… tried to do for me…!" He took a deep breath and the tears refused to stay put any longer. “Oh, Citrus… I'm so sorry!”

Blood wept and dug a hole deep in the park that day. He buried his brother's corpse, and threw the mirror in with it. Now, Red Hoof and The Mirror will die together. Never to be seen by the world again.

PreviousChapters Next